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^mRr  OF  THE 

Copyright,  1898,  by  HAam  &  Bboihbb. 

AU  righf  rttmted. 



XVII.  The  Higher  Education  of  Women:  An  Ad- 
dress delivered  at  the  Celebration  of  the  Comple- 
tion of  the  Twenty-fifth  Academic  Year  of  Vassar 
College,  Poughkeepsie,  N.  Y.,  June  12, 1890  .    .    .  399 

XVin.  The  University  of  the  State  of  New  York  : 
An  Address  delivered  at  the  University  Convoca- 
tion in  Albany,  July  9,  1890 427 

XIX.  Education  and  Local  Patriotism  :  An  Address 
delivered  at  the  Kingston  Academy,  Kingston, 
N.  Y.,  June  25.  1891 457 

INDEX 483 




ON    TUESDAY,  AUGUST    5,   1 856 


earth  with  beauty  and  feeding  the  race,  but  rather  as 
vegetables  are  thrown  into  a  cellar,  where  they  lie  buried, 
not  planted,  producing  only  some  poor  shoot,  pallid  and 

In  the  old  plays  and  romances  we  have  the  same 
r^  picture  of  an  absent-minded  pedant,  the  easy  prey  of 
x^  every  knave,  thej35clte-httSband  of  a  termagantT"whbi"-^ 
thoughHwcouTd  read  a  tragedy  of  iCschylus,  could  not 
tie  his  own  shoes.  He  belonged  to  the  great  establish- 
ments as  an  encyclopaedia,  in  the  same  way  that  the 
fool  belonged  to  them  as  a  jest-book.  Scholars  were 
popularly  ranked  with  women,  having  all  their  weakness 
and  none  of  their  charms. 

But  in  any  just  classification  of  human  powers  and  pur- 
^  suits  the  scholar  is  the  representative  of  thought.  De- 
voted to  the  contemplation  of  truth,  he  is,  in  the  State, 
a  public  conscience  by  which  public  measures  may  be 
tested ;  the  scholarly  class,  therefore,  to  which  now,  as 
of  old,  the  clergy  belong,  is  the  upper  house  in  the  pol- 
itics of  the  world. 

Now,  there  is  a  constant  tendency  in  material  pros- 
perity, when  it  is  the  prosperity  of  a  class  and  not  of 
the  mass,  to  relax  the  severity  of  principle.  There- 
fore, we  find  that  the  era  of  noble  thought  in  national 
history  is  not  usually  coincident  with  the  greatest 
national  prosperity.  Greece  was  not  greatest  when 
rumors  of  war  had  ceased.  Roma  wae  not-mubl  ini*s 
parfarmTOu  vulupfewouB  calm  ef  ConBtantinopolitafl^d^ 
,£ay.  The  magnificent  monotony  of  Bourbon  tyranny 
in  France,  and  the  reign  of  its  shop-keeping  king,  were 
not  the  grand  eras  of  French  history.     Holland  began 


are  priests  of  the  mind,  not  of  the  body,  and  who  are 
necessarily  the  conservative  party  of  intellectual  and 
moral  freedom. 

TWsls  the  class ^Tsdiolai's.  This  elevation  and  correc- 
public  sentiment  is  the  scholar's  office  in  the 

To  the  right  discharge  of  this  duty  all  his  learning 
is  merely  subsidiary ;  and  if  he  fail  to  devote  it  to  this 
end,  he  is  recreant  to  his  duty.  The  end  of  all  scholarly 
attainment  is  to  live  nobly.  If  a  man  read  books  mere- 
ly to  know  books,  he  is  a  tree  planted  only  to  blossom. 
If  he  read  books  to  apply  their  wisdom  to  life,  then  he 
is  a  tree  planted  to  bear  glorious  fruit.  He  does  not 
think  for  himself  alone,  nor  hoard  a  thought  as  a  miser 
a  diamond.  He  spends  for  the  world.  Scholarship  is 
not  only  the  knowledge  that  makes  books,  but  the 
wisdom  which  inspires  that  knowledge.  The  scholar  is 
not  necessarily  a  learned  man,  but  he  is  a  wise  man. 
If  he  be  personally  a  recluse,  his  voice  and  influence 
are  never  secluded.  If  the  man  be  a  hermit,  his  mind 
is  a  citizen  of  the  world. 

If,  then,  such  be  the  scholar  and  the  scholar's  office, 
if  he  be  truly  the  conscience  of  the  State,  the  funda- 
mental law  of  his  life  is  liberty.  At  every  cost,  the  true 
scholar  asserts  and  defends  liberty  of  thought  and 
liberty  of  speech.  Of  what  use  to  a  man  is  a  thought 
that  will  help  the  world,  if  he  cannot  tell  it  to  the 
world?  The  Inquisition  condemns  Galileo's  creed. 
E  pur  si  muove — still  it  moves — replies  Galileo  in  his 
dungeon.  Tyranny  poisons  the  cup  of  Socrates;  he 
smilingly  drains  it  to  the  health  of  the  world.  The 
Church,  towering  vast  in  the  midst  of  universal  super- 


Your  hearts  go  before  my  tongue  to  name  him.  Tech- 
nical scholarship  begins  in  a  dictionary  and  ends  in  a 
grammar.  The  sublime  scholarship  of  John  Milton  be- 
gan in  literature  and  ended  in  life. 

Graced  with  every  intellectual  gift,  he  was  personally 
so  comely  that  the  romantic  woods  of  Vallambrosa  are 
lovelier  from  their  association  with  his  youthful  figure 
sleeping  in  their  shade.  He  had  all  the  technical  ex- 
cellences of  the  scholar.  At  eighteen  he  wrote  better 
Latin  verses  than  have  been  written  in  England.  He 
replied  to  the  Italian  poets  who  complimented  him 
in  Italian  pure  as  their  own.  He  was  profoundly  skilled 
in  theology,  in  science,  and  in  the  literature  of  all  lan- 

These  were  his  accomplishments,  but  his  genius  was 
vast  and  vigorous.  While  yet  a  youth  he  wrote  those 
minor  poems  which  have  the  simple  perfection  of  pro- 
ductions of  nature ;  and  in  the  ripeness  of  his  wisdom 
and  power  he  turned  his  blind  eyes  to  heaven,  and 
sang  the  lofty  song  which  has  given  him  a  twin  glory 
with  Shakespeare  in  English  renown. 

It  is  much  for  one  man  to  have  exhausted  the  litera- 
ture of  other  nations  and  to  have  enriched  his  own. 
But  other  men  have  done  this  in  various  degrees.  Mil- 
ton went  beyond  it  to  complete  the  circle  of  his  charac- 
ter as  the  scholar. 

You  know  the  culmination  of  his  life.  The  first 
scholar  in  England  and  in  the  world  at  that  time  ful- 
filled his  office.  His  vocation  making  him  especially 
the  representative  of  liberty,  he  accepted  the  part  to 
which  he  was  naturally  called,  and,  turning  away  from 



not  fancy  all  the  noble  and  generous  hearts  in  the  world 
shouting  through  all  the  centuries,  "  Amen,  amen !"  ? 
i  Gentlemen,  the  scholar  is  the  representative  of  thought 
among  men,  and  his  duty  to  society  is  the  effort  to  in- 
troduce thought  and  the  sense  of  justice  into  human  af- 
fairs. He  was  not  made  a  scholar  to  satisfy  the  news- 
papers or  the  parish  beadles,  but  to  serve  God  and  man. 
While  other  men  pursue  what  is  expedient  and  watch 
with  alarm  the  flickering  of  the  funds,  he  is  to  pursue 
the  truth  and  watch  the  eternal  law  of  justice. 

But  if  this  be  true  of  the  scholar  in  general,  how  pe- 
culiarly is  it  true  of  the  American  scholar,  who,  as  a 
citizen  of  a  republic,  has  not  only  an  influence  by  his 
word  and  example,  but,  by  his  vote,  a  direct  agency 
upon  public  affairs.  In  a  republic  which  decides  ques- 
tions involving  the  national  welfare  by  a  majority  of 
voices,  whoever  refuses  to  vote  is  a  traitor  to  his  own 
cause,  whatever  that  cause  may  be ;  and  if  any  scholar 
will  not  vote,  nor  have  an  opinion  upon  great  public 
measures  because  that  would  be  to  mix  himself  with 
politics,  but  contents  himself  with  vague  declamation 
about  freedom  in  general,  knowing  that  the  enemies  of 
freedom  always  use  its  name,  then  that  scholar  is  a 
traitor  to  Liberty,  and  degrades  his  order  by  justifying 
the  reproach  that  the  scholar  is  a  pusillanimous  trimmer. 
The  American  scholar,  gentlemen,  has  duties  to  poli- 
tics in  general ;  and  he  has,  consequently,  duties  in  every 
political  crisis  in  his  country.  What  his  duties  are  in 
this  crisis  of  our  national  affairs  I  shall  now  tell  you  as 
plainly  as  I  can.  The  times  are  grave,  and  they  demand 
sober  speech.    To  us  young  men  the  future  of  this 


and  fierce;  brute  force  supplants  moral  principle;  free- 
dom of  speech  is  suppressed,  because  the  natural  speech 
of  man  condemns  slavery,  a  sensitive  vanity  is  called 
honor,  and  cowardly  swagger,  chivalry;  respect  for 
woman  is  destroyed  by  universal  licentiousness;  lazy 
indifference  is  called  gallantry,  and  an  impudent  famil- 
iarity, cordiality.  To  supply  by  a  travesty  of  courage 
the  want  of  manly  honor,  men  deliberately  shoot  those 
who  expose  their  falsehoods.  Therefore  they  go  armed 
with  knives  and  pistols,  for  it  is  a  cardinal  article  of  a 
code  of  false  honor  that  it  is  possible  for  a  bully  to  insult 
a  gentleman.  Founded  upon  crime — for  by  no  other 
word  can  man-stealing  be  characterized — the  prosperity 
of  such  a  people  is  at  the  mercy  of  an  indignant  justice. 
Hence  a  slave  society  has  the  characteristics  of  wander- 
ing tribes,  which  rob,  and  live,  therefore,  insecure  in  the 
shadow  of  impending  vengeance.  There  is  nothing  ad- 
mirable in  such  a  society  but  what  its  spirit  condemns , 
there  is  nothing  permanent  in  it  but  decay.  Against  nat- 
ure, against  reason,  against  the  human  instinct,  against 
the  divine  law,  the  institution  of  human  slavery  is  the 
most  dreadful  that  philosophy  contemplates  or  the  im- 
agination conceives.  Certainly,  some  individual  slave- 
holders are  good  men,  but  the  mass  of  men  are  never 
better  than  their  institutions;  and  certainly  some  slaves 
are  better  fed  and  lodged  than  some  free  laborers,  but 
so  are  many  horses  better  fed  and  lodged  than  some 
free  laborers.  Is,  therefore,  a  laborer  to  abdicate  his 
manhood  and  become  a  horse  ?  And  certainly,  as  it  ex- 
ists, God  may,  in  a  certain  sense,  be  said  to  permit  it ; 
but  in  the  same  way  God  permitted  the  slaughter  of  the 


innocents  in  Judea,  and  he  permitted  the  awful  railway 
slaughter,  not  a  month  ago,  near  Philadelphia.  Do  you 
mean  that  as  comfort  for  the  mothers  of  Judea  and  the 
mothers  of  Pennsylvania  ? 

History  confirms  what  philosophy  teaches.  The  East- 
em  nations  and  the  Spanish  colonies,  Rome  in  her  de- 
cline and  the  Southern  States  of  America,  display  a  so- 
ciety of  which  the  spirit  is  similar,  however  much  the 
phenomena  may  differ.  Moral  self-respect  is  the  first 
condition  of  national  life,  as  labor  is  the  first  condition 
of  national  prosperity ;  but  the  laborer  cannot  have 
moral  respect  unless  he  be  free. 

The  true  national  policy,  therefore,  is  that  which  en- 
nobles and  dignifies  labor.  Cincinnatus  upon  his  farm 
is  the  ideal  of  the  citizen.  But  slavery  disgraces  labor 
by  making  the  laborer  a  brute,  while  it  makes  the  slave- 
holder the  immediate  rival  of  the  free  laborer  in  all  the 
markets  of  the  world.  Hence,  Tiberius  Gracchus,  one 
of  the  greatest  of  Roman  citizens,  early  saw  that,  in  a 
State  where  an  oligarchy  at  the  same  time  monopolized 
and  di^raced  labor,  there  must  necessarily  be  a  vast 
demoralized  population  who  would  demand  support  of 
the  State  and  be  ready  for  the  service  of  the  dema- 
/gogue,  who  is  always  the  tyrant.  Gracchus  was  killed, 
but  the  issue  proved  the  prophet.  The  canker  which 
Rome  cherished  in  her  bosom  ate  out  the  heart  of 
Rome,  and  the  empire  whose  splendor  flashed  over  the 
whole  world  fell  like  a  blighted  tree.  Not  until  slavery 
had  barbarized  the  great  mass  of  the  Romans  did  Rome 
fall  a  prey  to  the  barbarians  from  abroad. 

Gentlemen,  it  is  a  disgrace  for  all  of  us  that  in  this 
I.— 2 


country  and  in  this  year  of  our  history  the  occasion 
should  require  me  to  state  such  principles  and  facts 
as  these.  History  seems  to  be  an  endless  iteration. 
But  it  is  not  so.  Do  not  lose  heart.  It  only  seems 
so  because  there  has  been  but  one  great  cause  in 
human  affairs — the  cause  of  liberty.  In  a  thousand 
forms,  under  a  thousand  names,  the  old  contest  has 
been  waged.  It  divided  the  politics  of  Greece  and 
Rome,  of  England,  France,  America,  into  two  parties ; 
so  that  the  history  of  liberty  is  the  history  of  the 

As  American  citizens,  we  are  called  upon  to  fight 
that  battle  by  resisting  the  extension  of  the  institution 
which  I  have  described.  The  advocacy  of  the  area  of 
its  extension  is  not  a  whim  of  the  slave-power,  but  is 
based  upon  the  absolute  necessities  of  the  system.  An 
institution  which  is  mentally  and  morally  pernicious 
cannot  be  economically  advantageous.  To  suppose  so 
is  to  accuse  God  of  putting  a  premium  upon  sin. 
The  system  of  slave -labor,  by  demoralizing  the  popu- 
lation and  exhausting  the  soil,  absolutely  demands  ex- 

Of  this  economical  fact  there  can  be  no  doubt.  The 
State  of  Virginia,  for  instance,  has  a  finer  climate,  richer 
and  cheaper  soils,  with  less  expensive  means  of  devel- 
oping their  wealth,  than  Pennsylvania,  or  New  York,  or 
Massachusetts.  At  the  Revolution  Virg^inia  had  twice 
the  population  of  Pennsylvania,  much  more  disposable 
capital,  and  the  best  facilities  for  external  commerce 
and  internal  communication.  In  1850,  the  cash  value 
of  farms  in  Pennsylvania  was  $25  an  acre;  in  Virginia, 


spread  through  your  widely  -  extended  domain?  Its 
present  threatening  aspect,  and  the  violence  of  its  sup- 
porters, so  far  from  inducing  me  to  yield  to  its  progress, 
prompt  me  to  resist  its  march.  Now  is  the  time !  The 
extension  of  the  evil  must  now  be  prevented,  or  the 
opportunity  will  be  lost  forever.  ...  If  the  Western 
country  cannot  be  settled  without  slavery,  gladly  would 
I  prevent  its  settlement  till  time  shall  be  no  more.** 

Mr.  Cobb,  of  Georgia,  fixing  his  eyes  upon  Tallmadge, 
said,  as  the  slave  section  has  always  said,  that  if  the 
Northern  members  persisted,  the  Union  would  be  dis- 

Mr.  Tallmadge — let  us  remember  his  name,  young 
Americans,  with  those  of  our  great  men — Mr.  Tallmadge 
said:  "Language  of  this  sort  has  no  effect  upon  me. 
My  purpose  is  fixed*  It  is  interwoven  with  my  exist- 
ence. Its  durability  is  limited  with  my  life.  It  is  a 
great  and  glorious  cause,  setting  bounds  to  slavery  the 
most  cruel  and  debasing  the  world  has  ever  witnessed. 
It  is  the  cause  of  the  freedom  of  man." 

It  was  the  most  famous  debate  in  our  history.  Rufus 
King  frankly  declared  that  it  was  a  question  of  slave  or 
free  policy  in  the  national  government.  Every  argu- 
ment that  has  been  used  in  the  discussion  by  the  slaves 
power  during  the  last  two  years  was  then  presented,  and 
completely  refuted  by  the  representatives  of  freedom. 
The  legislatures  of  the  States  especially  instructed  their 
representatives  how  to  vote.  The  country  shook  as  in 
the  toils  of  an  earthquake.  The  vote  was  taken,  and 
the  slave -power  conquered.  The  slave  delegations 
voted  in  a  body  for  the  bill,  and  Mr.  Pinckney  wrote 


were  the  interest  of  trade  and  the  slave  system  that 
the  subject  was  not  allowed  to  be  discussed.  The  pro- 
fessed abolitionists  were  reviled  as  fanatical  traitors, 
and  the  entire  practical  silence  of  the  North  was  justi- 
fied by  saying  tHat  the  discussion  of  the  subject  had 
only  increased  the  difficulty  by  inflaming  the  slave- 
power  ;  as  if,  because  a  burglar  may  shoot  you  if  you 
oppose  him,  therefore  burglary  must  not  be  mentioned. 
The  question  was  considered  so  difficult  that  it  was 
never  asked.  We  were  sinking  deeper  and  deeper  in 
the  slough,  and,  because  it  was  so  very  hard  to  get  out, 
we  must  not  even  make  the  effort  to  escape  suffocation. 
Good  manners  forbade  all  allusion  to  slavery.  All 
places  which  Northerners  and  Southerners  frequented 
— Newport,  Saratoga,  the  mountains,  among  which  Lib- 
erty was  bom,  and  the  sea,  which  is  the  very  symbol  of 
Freedom,  across  which  she  has  fled  a  hundred  times 
to  found  her  immortal  empire — ^were  silent  over  the 
spreading  pestilence.  The  pulpit  held  its  tongue ;  the 
press,  which  in  a  free  land  should  be  the  alarm  bell  of 
liberty,  was  muffled.  If  a  pian  from  the  free  States  died 
for  liberty,  as  Lovejoy  died  at  Alton,  he  was  called  a 
fanatical  fool,  and  Freedom  had  no  other  epitaph  for  her 
martyr.  Other  countries  to  which  we  superciliously  as- 
serted our  superiority  asked,  contemptuously,  "  What  is 
this  Republic  which  makes  cattle  of  men,  and  whips 
women  when  they  grieve  that  their  children  are  sold 
away  from  them?"  And  we  replied,  "You  don't  un- 
derstand the  peculiarities  of  the  situation.'*  We  tried 
to  believe  that  the  slave -power  regretted  slavery,  be- 
cause it  said,  with  every  new  link  of  the  chain  it  forged, 


You  know  that  the  President  of  the  United  States  en- 
deavored to  compel  that  submission  by  means  of  the 
national  army.  It  was  the  final  triumph  of  the  slave- 
power.  Its  success  could  not  be  greater.  The  Presi- 
dent of  the  United  States  orders  the  army  of  the 
United  States  to  force  slavery  upon  a  free  territory, 
and  while  I  speak  to  you  the  crime  goes  on.     But  also 


while  I  speak  to  you  twenty  millions  of  a  moral  people, 
politically  dedicated  to  liberty,  are  asking  themselves 
whether  their  government  shall  be  administered  solely 
in  the  interest  of  three  hundred  and  fifty  thousand 

At  last  we  are  overtaken  by  a  sense  of  the  grandeur 
of  the  issue  before  us ;  but  so  long  did  God  delay  the 
dawning  that  good  men  despaired  of  day. 

Do  you  ask  me  our  duty  as  scholars?  Gentlemen, 
'thought,  which  the  scholar  represents,  is  life  and  liberty. 
There  is  no  intellectual  or  moral  life  without  liberty. 
Therefore,  as  a  man  must  breathe  and  see  before  he  can 
study,  the  scholar  must  have  liberty,  first  of  all ;  and  as 
the  American  scholar  is  a  man  and  has  a  voice  in  his 
own  government,  so  his  interest  in  political  affairs  must 
precede  all  others.  He  must  build  his  house  before  he 
can  live  in  it.  He  must  be  a  perpetual  inspiration  of 
freedom  in  politics.  He  must  recognize  that  the  intelli- 
gent exercise  of  political  rights  which  is  a  privilege  in  a 
monarchy,  is  a  duty  in  a  republic.  If  it  clash  with  his 
ease,  his  retirement,  his  taste,  his  study,  let  it  clash,  but 
let  him  do  his  duty.  The  course  of  events  is  incessant, 
^nd  when  the  good  deed  is  slighted,  the  bad  deed  is 




The  following  oration,  first  delivered  before  the  graduating 
class  at  Union  College,  Schenectady,  N.  Y.,  on  July  20th,  1857, 
was  repeated,  on  July  29th,  before  the  Literary  Societies  of  Dart- 
mouth College,  Hanover,  N.  H. ;  on  July  31st,  at  the  Normal 
School  in  Westfield,  Mass. ;  and  on  September  3d,  at  Brown  Uni- 
versity, Providence,  R.  I.  It  was  published  in  the  New  York 
Tribune,  September  4th,  and  in  the  Anti^Slavery  Standard,  Sep- 
tember I2th. 

The  year  which  had  passed  since  the  delivery  of  the  preceding 
oration  had  been  marked  by  the  election  of  Mr.  Buchanan,  the 
proslavery  candidate,  to  the  Presidency,  and  by  the  decision  of 
the  Dred  Scott  case  in  the  Supreme  Court  of  the  United  States. 
Chief  Justice  Taney  had  read  his  opinion  in  the  case  on  March 
6th,  two  days  after  the  inauguration  of  Mr.  Buchanan — ^an  opin- 
ion in  which  it  was  declared  that  nq^;roes  were  not  citizens  un- 
der the  Constitution,  and  that  Congress  had  no  right  to  prohibit 
slavery  in  the  Territories.  The  infamous  Fugitive  -  slave  Law 
was  in  operation.  The  power  of  slavery  had  never  been  so 
firmly  established  or  so  threatening.  The  governor  of  South 
Carolina  had  recommended,  in  a  message  to  the  Legislature,  the 
reopening  of  the  slave-trade. 

But  the  antislavery  sentiment  of  the  North  was  growing  in 
intensity  in  proportion  to  the  aggressive  action  and  apparent 
success  of  the  upholders  of  slavery.  And  in  confirming  this 
sentiment  Mr.  Curtis  was  engaged. 


The  flower  in  your  hand  fades  while  you  look  at  it ; 
the  dream  that  allures  you  glimmers  and  is  gone.  But 
both  flower  and  dream,  like  youth  itself,  are  buds  and 
prophecies.  For  where,  without  the  perfumed  bloom- 
ing of  the  spring  orchards  all  over  the  hills  and  among 
the  valleys  of  New  England  and  New  York,  would  the 
happy  harvests  of  New  York  and  New  England  be  ?  and 
where,  without  the  dreams  of  the  young  men  lighting  the 
future  with  human  possibility,  would  be  the  deeds  of  the 
old  men  dignifying  the  past  with  human  achievement  ? 

Gentlemen,  how  deeply  does  it  become  us  to  trust  in 
the  promise  of  youth  and  to  believe  in  its  fulfilment — 
us,  who  are  not  only  young  ourselves,  but  living  with 
the  youth  of  the  youngest  nation  in  history. 

I  congratulate  you  that  you  are  young;  I  congratu- 
late you  that  you  are  Americans. 

Life  is  beginning  for  us ;  but  the  life  of  every  nation, 
as  of  every  individual,  is  a  battle,  and  the  victory  is  to 
those  who  fight  with  faith  and  undespairing  devotion. 
Knowing  that  nothing  is  worth  fighting  for  at  all  unless 
God  reigns,  let  us  believe  at  least  as  much  in  the  good- 
ness of  God  as  we  do  in  the  dexterity  of  the  Devil. 
And,  viewing  this  prodigious  spectacle  of  our  country 
— this  hope  of  humanity  —  this  young  America,  our 
America,  taking  the  sun  full  in  the  front,  and  making 
for  the  future  as  boldly  and  blithely  as  the  young  David 
for  Goliath — let  us  believe  in  our  own  hopes  with  all  our 
hearts,  and  out  of  that  faith  shall  spring  the  fact  that 
David,  and  not  Goliath,  is  to  win  the  day. 

Only  by  the  religious  resolution  of  every  successive 
generation  of  young  Americans  shall  the  great  ideas  out 


loved  as  with  human  affection,  of  whom  poets  sing,  for 
whom  heroes  die,  is  still  unseen  and  her  voice  unheard. 
But  in  some  happy  hour  of  bivouac  the  musing  soldier 
hears  the  hum  of  cities  and  inland  mills,  sees  golden 
harvests  waving  out  of  sight,  sees  men  and  women 
walking  and  working,  parents  and  children  of  freemen, 
and  bending  over  all  the  benediction  of  the  summer 
sky ;  and  the  musing  soldier  of  that  great  army  in  the 
harvest  and  the  murmur  knows  that  he  sees  and  hears, 
as  they  can  only  be  seen  and  heard,  the  face  and  the 
voice  of  the  mistress  he  loves  and  worships. 

If  such  is  Patriotism  in  general,  what  is  it  in  particu- 
lar? How  can  you,  as  educated  young  Americans,  best 
serve  the  great  cause  of  human  development  to  which 
all  nationalities  are  subservient  ? 

In  the  life  of  Columbus  we  read  that,  after  being 
many  weeks  at  sea,  the  great  navigator  was  at  open  de- 
fiance with  his  crew ;  but  one  day,  after  the  vesper  hymn 
to  the  Virgrin  had  been  sung,  Columbus  pointed  out  to 
his  crew  the  goodness  of  God  in  wafting  them  over  a 
tranquil  ocean  and  holding  out  to  them  promise  of  land. 
"  As  the  evening  darkened,"  says  the  charming  chron- 
icler, who,  himself  the  patriarch  of  American  literature, 
has  written  with  touching  fidelity  the  lives  of  the  two 
most  famous  men  associated  with  the  history  of  Amer- 
ica— Columbus,  who  discovered  the  theatre  of  the  histor- 
ical experiment,  and  Washington,  who  secured  its  honest 
trial,  and  has  thereby  linked  to  those  great  names  an- 
other which  I  do  not  need  to  mention,  for  your  hearts 
go  before  my  lips  to  name  Washington  Irving — "  as  the 
evening  darkened,  Columbus  took  his  station  on  the  top 


midst  of  the  horrors  of  the  early  West  Indian  struggle 
for  gold;  and  that  he  lived  to  deplore  bitterly  the 
course  he  had  advised,  having  learned,  as  three  cen- 
turies have  continued  to  learn,  that  to  do  a  great  and 
evident  wrong  for  the  sake  of  a  possible  good  is  only 
to  make  sure  of  committing  the  sin  and  to  leave  the 
good  worse  than  undone.  And  I  am  sure  no  candid 
young  mind  can  hear  without  incredulity  and  shame 
that  the  repented  error  of  Las  Casas  three  hundred 
years  ago  is  the  last  desperate  defence  of  a  system  in 
the  land  where  he  planted  it  which  the  holy  indigna- 
tion of  humanity  is  slowly,  but  surely,  withering.  If 
we  gfrant  with  reverence  that  God  brings  good  out  of 
evil,  shall  we  therefore,  with  Jesuitical  sophistry,  con- 
sent to  do  the  evil  ? 

It  seemed,  certainly,  at  the  beginning  of  the  seven- 
teenth century,  as  if  the  discovery  of  the  new  continent 
had  only  made  the  world  richer  to  make  it  worse.  The 
new  settlements  merely  repeated  in  more  hideous  forms 
the  vices  of  the  old  European  civilization.  But  the 
kind  climate,  the  quick  soil,  and  the  rare  metals,  by  at- 
tracting adventurers,  had  done  their  work.  The  lost 
Atlantis  had  been  found  again.  Sebastian  Cabot,  Ca- 
bral,  Cortereal,  Verrazzani,  Cartier,  in  many  latitudes, 
under  every  auspice,  had  touched  the  remote  and  fabu- 
lous shores.  Among  the  sunset  clouds  a  new  continent 
lay  fallow  for  the  future — waiting  to  be  possessed  and 
inhabited  by  any  people  who  had  sufficient  cause  and 
heart  and  hope  enough  to  subdue  it. 

The  movement  for  whose  ultimate  purposes  the 
scene  was  thus  preparing  still  went  on   in   Europe. 


citizens,  with  certain  obligations  to  the  laW.  If,  there- 
fore, the  law  of  the  land,  enacted  by  a  majority  of  the 
people,  declare  that  you  must  pay  a  heavy  tax,  that  a 
railroad  may  pierce  your  garden,  that  a  duty  may  be 
levied  upon  the  goods  you  import,  however  injurious 
to  you  the  effect  may  be  you  can  have  no  right  to  re- 
sist forcibly,  because  the  consequences  of  forcible  re- 
sistance would  be  universal  confusiori  and  injury,  and 
because,  if  it  be  found  to  be  a  grievance  by  the  ma- 
jority, they  will  presently  put  it  right,  and  meanwhile 
your  pecuniary  loss  is  your  .share  of  the  compromise  for 
the  general  security.  These  are  laws  that  concern  us 
only  as  citizens  in  our  relations  to  the  State.  In  them- 
selves they  have  no  moral  character  or  importance. 

But  if  the  law  of  the  land,  enacted  by  the  majority, 
declares  that  you  must  murder  your  child  under  two 
years  of  age,  or  prostitute  your  daughter,  or  deny  a 
cup  of  water  to  the  thirsty,  or  return  to  savage  Indians 
an  innocent  captive  flying  for  his  life  whom  they  had 
stolen  from  his  country  and  enslaved  for  their  own 
gain,  under  the  name  of  civilizing  him,  you  have  no 
right  to  obey,  because  such  laws  nullify  themselves,  be- 
ing repulsive  to  the  holiest  human  instincts,  and  obedi- 
ence would  produce  a  more  disastrous  public  demorali- 
zation than  any  possible  revolution  could  breed.  "  To 
authorize  an  untruth  by  a  toleration  of  State,"  said  the 
Cobbler  of  Agawam,  one  of  the  stern  old  Puritans,  two 
hundred  and  seventeen  years  ago,  "  is  to  build  a  sconce 
against  the  walls  of  heaven,  to  batter^  God  out  of  his 
chair."  Such  laws  God  and  man  require  of  you  to 
disobey,  for  upon  a  people  who,  under  any  pretence. 



that  are  passing,  and  because  there  is  now  a  deadly 
debate  in  our  minds  whether  men  may  not  do  wrong 
for  the  sake  of  some  apparent  advantage. 

Will  you  ask  where  we  should  be  if  every  citizen  is  to 
decide  for  himself  whether  he  is  to  obey  the  law  ?  On 
the  other  hand,  I  ask  you  where  we  shall  be  if  he  is 
not  ?  If  he  consent  to  act  against  his  moral  judgment 
for  a  year,  for  two  years,  for  six  months,  for  a  week,  do 
you  not  see  that  his  entire  moral  nature  is  corrupted; 
that  such  a  man  upon  the  very  same  ground  would  denj' 
his  father,  would  sell  his  sister,  if  the  law  required ;  and 
that  to  believe  the  interests  of  mankind  committed  to  a 
nation  of  such  men  is  to  accuse  not  only  the  goodness 
but  the  wisdom  of  God  ? 

Besides,  whenever  in  a  country  like  ours  a  law  which 
violates  the  moral  sense  chances  to  exist,  it  is  the  will 
of  the  majority,  and  they  will  punish  the  disobedient. 
To  that  punishment  the  offender  will  willingly  submit, 
and  thereby  show  homage  to  the  principles  of  law.  But 
when  good  men  are  sent  to  jail  for  refusing  to  do 
wrong,  if  there  be  any  public  conscience  there  will  soon 
be  a  change.  James  II.  sent  the  bishops  to  the  Tower; 
but  to  put  them  in  the  Tower  was  not  to  put  them  in 
the  wrong,  and  after  a  little  while  the  people  of  Eng- 
land drove  James  II.  across  the  sea. 

Nor  need  you  fear  that  men  will  plead  their  con- 
science falsely  to  avoid  obedience  to  the  law.  Because 
the  penalty  is  always  proportioned  and  always  exacted, 
and  if  a  man  says,  to  escape  payment  of  a  tax,  that  his 
moral  sense  will  not  allow  him  to  pay,  his  tax  will  be 
doubled  or  trebled  in  the  shape  of  penalty. 





N.  Y.,  OCTOBER  1 8,  1859. 


Mr.  Douglas  might  as  justly  quote  the  fact  that  there 
were  slaves  in  New  York  up  to  1827  as  proof  that  the 
public  opinion  of  the  State  sanctioned  slavery,  as  to  try 
to  make  an  argument  of  the  fact  that  there  were  slave 
laws  upon  the  statute-books  of  the  original  States.  He 
forgets  that  there  was  not  in  all  the  colonial  legislation 
of  America  one  single  law  which  recognized  the  right- 
fulness of  slavery  in  the  abstract;  that  in  1774  Virginia 
stigmatized  the  slave-trade  as  "wicked,  cruel,  and  un- 
natural"; that  in  the  same  year  Congress  protested 
against  it  "  under  the  sacred  ties  of  virtue,  honor,  and 
love  of  country";  that  in  1775  the  same  Congress  de- 
nied that  God  intended  one  man  to  own  another  as  a 
slave ;  that  the  new  Discipline  of  the  Methodist  Church, 
in  1784,  and  the  Pastoral  Letter  of  the  Presbyterian 
Church,  in  1788,  denounced  slavery;  that  abolition  so- 
cieties existed  in  slave  States,  and  that  it  was  hardly 
the  interest  even  of  the  cotton-growing  States,  where 
it  took  a  slave  a  day  to  clean  a  pound  of  cotton,  to  up- 
hold the  system.  Mr.  Douglas  incessantly  forgets  to  tell 
us  that  Jefferson,  in  his  address  to  the  Virginia  Legis- 
lature of  1774,  says  that  "the  abolition  of  domestic 
slavery  is  the  greatest  object  of  desire  in  these  colo- 
nies, where  it  was  unhappily  introduced  in  their  infant 
state  " ;  and  while  he  constantly  remembers  to  remind 
us  that  the  Jeffersonian  prohibition  of  slavery  in  the  ter- 
ritories was  lost  in  1784,  he  forgets  to  add  that  it  was 
lost,  not  by  a  majority  of  votes — for  there  were  sixteen 
in  its  favor  to  seven  against  it — but  because  the  sixteen 
votes  did  not  represent  two  thirds  of  the  States ;  and 
he  also  incessantly  forgets  to  tell  us  that  this  Jeflferso- 


Puritan  persecution  in  Scotland,  the  undaunted  voices 
of  the  Covenanters  were  heard  singing  the  solemn  songs 
of  God  that  echoed  and  re-echoed  from  peak  to  peak  of 
the  barren  mountains,  until  the  great  dumb  wilderness 
was  vocal  with  praise — so  in  little  towns  and  great 
cities  were  heard  the  uncompromising  voices  of  these 
men  sternly  intoning  the  majestic  words  of  the  Golden 
Rule  and  the  Declaration  of  Independence,  which  ech- 
oed from  solitary  heart  to  heart  until  the  whole  land 
rang  with  the  litany  of  liberty. 

But  still  the  great  public  opinion  of  the  free  States 
was  unmoved.  It  cried  angrily :  "  You're  only  making 
matters  worse.  It's  very  hard,  but  what  can  we  do? 
It's  none  of  our  business.     It's  none  of  our  business." 

But  when  1850  came,  and  theory  was  found  to  be  fact, 
when  the  man  who  was  angrily  crying,  "  It's  none  of 
my  business,  what  have  I  to  do  with  slavery  ?"  suddenly 
felt  the  quivering,  panting  fugitive  clinging  to  his  knees 
— a  wretched,  forlorn,  outcast,  hunted  man,  guilty  of  no 
crime  but  color,  and  begging  the  succor  that  no  honest 
man  would  refuse  to  a  cur  cowering  on  his  threshold — 
then,  as  he  stood  aghast  and  heard  Slavery  thundering 
at  his  door,  "  I  am  the  law.  Give  me  my  prey !  Give 
me  my  prey!"  he  felt  God  knocking  at  his  heart, 
''  Whoso  doeth  it  unto  the  least  of  these  my  little  ones, 
doeth  it  unto  me." 

Up  to  this  time,  as  I  believe,  slavery  had  been  let 
alone^  as  it  claimed  to  be,  in  good  faith.  Up  to  this 
time  it  is  clear  enough  in  our  history  that  there  was  no 
general  perception  of  the  terrible  truth  that  slavery  was 
a  system  aggressive  in  its  very  nature,  and  necessarily 



HARVARD    UNIVERSITY,  JULY    1 7,   1 862. 


The  following  oration,  first  delivered  in  the  summer  of  1862 
before  the  Phi  Beta  Kappa  Society  of  Harvard  University,  was 
repeated  forty  times  in  Massachusetts,  New  Hampshire,  Rhode 
Island,  Connecticut,  New  York,  and  Pennsylvania,  during  the 
ensuing  year. 

The  summer  of  1862  was  perhaps  the  darkest  period  of  the 
war.  In  September,  President  Lincoln  issued  his  preliminary 
Proclamation  of  Emancipation ;  on  the  first  of  January,  1863,  this 
was  followed  by  the  final  Proclamation. 

In  the  directing  and  confirming  of  public  sentiment  and  opin- 
ion this  Address  of  Mr.  Curtis  was  of  great  service. 


suspected  satire,  the  popular  instinct  dubbed  it  Know- 
Nothing,  while  this  most  peculiarly  un-American  of 
our  political  parties  completed  its  comedy  by  soberly 
claiming  to  be  distinctively  American.  But  it  is  a  hap- 
py fact  for  any  man  who  believes  that  political  liberty 
is  based  upon  the  rights  of  all  men  and  not  upon  the 
whims  of  some;  that  its  career  was  the  shortest  of  any 
party  in  our  history. 

But  our  late  history  shows  us  a  far  more  dangerous, 
because  more  subtle  and  specious,  denial  of  the  doc- 
trine of  liberty — a  denial  which  one  of  the  nimblest  and 
tfioit  adroit  of  our  modem  politicians  thought  to  be  the 
surest  trap  to  catch  the  Presidency.  Mr.  Douglas,  who 
had  a  frenzy-  to  be  President,  who  had  watched  very 
closely^the  current  of  political  sentiment  in  the  coun- 
try^ was  persuaded  that  the  long  habit  of  indifference 
to  human  rights  had  deadened  the  sense  of  justice  in 
the  national  mind.  He  was  not  a  thoughtful  scholar, 
and  therefore  did  not  know  from  the  experience  of  all 
history  that  there  is  no  law  more  absolute  than  the 
eternal  restoration  of  the  moral  balance  of  the  world 
by  the  vindication  of  justice.  Nor  had  his  wide  and 
familiar  intercourse  with  the  most  demoralized  and  de- 
graded political  epoch  in  our  history  supplied  that  nee* 
essary  knowledge.  He  was  the  representative  politi- 
cian of  an  era  which  had  apparently  lost  all  faith  in 
ideas.  His  favorite  dogma  was  the  most  satirical  in- 
sult to  the  American  people,  for  it  implied  that  their 
ignorant  enthusiasm  would  honor  Aim  most  who  most 
cunningly  denied  the  most  cardinal  principle  of  their 
national  life.     Apparently  his  dogma  was  the  simple 


assertion  of  the  right  of  the  majority  to  govern,  and 
nothing  could  be  fairer  thaii  that.  This  is  a  democratic 
country,  he  said ;  the  majority  mlesl  Unhappily,  we 
quarrel  about  slavery  in  the  territories.  Very  well ;  let 
us  settle  the  question  by  applynig  the  fundamental  rule. 
Let  the  majority  decide.  Let  the  majority  of  people  in 
the  territory  say  whether  they  will  have  slaves.  What 
can  be  fairer?  cried  Mr.  Douglas,  leering  at  the  country. 
What  can  be  fairer?  echoed  a  thousand  caucuses.  The 
manner  was  blandishing.  The  sophism  was  sparkling./ 
It  was  a  champagne  that  bubbled  and  whirled  in  the 
popular  brain,  until  many  a  wise  man  feared  that  the 
conscience  and  common-sense  of  the  nation  were  wholly 
drugged.  It  was  the  doctrine  of  the  sheerest  moral  indif- 
ference. "  Liberty,  human  rights,  they  are  only  iiames," 
he  said,  and  with  a  frightful  composure  and  utter  moral 
confusion  he  added, ''  I  take  the  part  of  the  white  man 
against  the  black,  and  of  the  black  man  against  the 
alligator."  I  am  neither  for  slavery  nor  liberty,  he  said. 
I  don't  care  which.  But  the  nation,  after  all,  was  not 
dnigged ;  it  did  care.  Its  interest,  if  not  its  conscience, 
was  alarmed.  His  jovial  reference  of  the  rights  of  hu- 
man nature  to  the  whim  or  hatred  or  supposed  interest 
of  a  majority  was  overborne  by  the  refusal  to  leave 
them  even  to  a  majority.  The  two  great  parties  of  the 
country  rallied  around  the  essential  principle  involved. 
It  was  at  once  a  question  of  liberty  and  of  despotism. 
The  parties  were  in  earnest.  Yet  he  could  not  be  in 
earnest,  for  he  was  only  playing  for  the  Presidency. 
"  *  The  mills  of  God ' ! — there  are  no  mills  of  God,"  he 
smiled  and  said;  and  instantly  he  was  caught  up  and 




MARCH,   1864 

The  following  lecture  was  delivered  more  than  fifty  times  in 
the  course  of  1864  and  1865,  in  different  States,  from  Maine  to 


hand  the  serpent  of  rebellion  and  with  the  other  the 
hydra  of  foreign  hate  dead  beside  her  cradle.  To  the 
American  Republic  belongs  the  national  domain.  To 
the  American  heart  belong^  the  national  principles  of 
Liberty  and  Union.  To  the  American  flag  belongs 
the  national  victory  which  shall  secure  those  principles 
from  sea  to  sea. 



This  lecture  was  written  in  the  autumn  of  1865,  and  delivered 
in  many  places  during  that  season  and  the  following  winter. 

The  Civil  War  had  ended.  Andrew  Johnson  was  President. 
Slavery  had  been  abolished  by  the  Constitutional  Amendment, 
and  the  process  of  **  Reconstruction  "  was  actively  proceeding. 

THE  GOOD   FIGHT  1 77 

**  Tramp,  tramp,  tramp,  the  boys  are  marching. 
Cheer  up,  comrades — they  will  come  !" 

For  our  America  shall  be  the  Sinai  of  the  nations, 
and  from  the  terrible  thunders  and  lightnings  of  its 
great  struggle  shall  proceed  the  divine  law  of  liberty 
that  shall  subdue  and  harmonize  the  world. 
I.— 12 



THE   STATE   OF   NEW    YORK,  JULY    19^   1867 

During  the  summer  of  1867  a  Constitutional  Convention  for 
the  State  of  New  York  was  held  at  Albany.  Mr.  Curtis  was  a 
member  of  it  from  Richmond  County.  He  took  an  active  part 
in  its  deliberations  and  debates. 






SOCIETY    OF   THE    CITY  OF   NEW  YORK,  DEC.  22,   1 876 

doubtedly  he  did  value  them,  for  he  was  not  a  fool.  But  he 
valued  them  for  the  use  which  he  could  make  of  them  for  the 
welfare  of  the  State,  not  for  themselves  or  for  his  own  immediate 

The  speech  is  reprinted  from  the  pamphlet  report  of  the  occa- 
sion issued  by  the  Society.  The  indications  of  applause  have 
been  allowed  to  stand,  as  showing  the  spirit  and  impression  of 
the  moment. 






of  a  patriotism  that  girds  the  commonwealth  with  the 
resistless  splendor  of  the  moral  law — the  invulnerable 
panoply  of  States,  the  celestial  secret  of  a  g^eat  nation 
and  a  happy  people. 




UTICA,  N.  Y.,  JUNE  8,  1881 


bellsy  the  joyous  feasting,  and  the  fervidly  grateful  ad- 
dress of  the  city,  saluted  not  the  orator  only,  but  Amer- 
ican liberty,  which  had  caught  a  fresh  breath  of  life  from 
his  burning  lips. 

This  is  the  event  in  the  history  of  New  York  which 
this  meeting,  and  every  recurring  meeting  of  this  associ- 
ation, ought  to  commemorate.  In  New  York  the  press 
was  liberated.  In  New  York  the  cardinal  principle 
that  the  truth  is  not  a  libel  was  affirmed.  In  the  Zen- 
ger  trial  in  New  York,  as  Gouverneur  Morris  said,  shone 
the  rosy  dawn  of  that  liberty  which  afterwards  revolu- 
tionized America.  And  what  a  tremendous  power  was 
thus  emancipated!  for  with  a  free  press  popular  gov- 
ernment began.  In  a  broad  sense,  a  free  press  is  the 
greatest  of  all  powers  of  civilization,  because  the  high- 
est, the  most  beautiful,  the  most  beneficent  inspira^ 
tions  of  human  genius  in  every  branch  of  literature,  are 
made  permanently  and  universally  accessible  only  by 
the  press.  In  vain  for  us  the  prophets  had  spoken,  the 
apostles  taught ;  in  vain  the  poets  had  sung,  the  philos- 
ophers had  explored,  the  inventors  experimented,  and 
the  historians  written;  for  us  Homer  and  Dante  and 
Shakespeare  had  been  dumb ;  Plutarch  and  Bacon,  Thu- 
cydides  and  Tacitus,  Gibbon  and  Grote,  Bryant  and 
Bancroft,  Motley  and  Emerson  and  Longfellow  had 
been  practically  and  popularly  unknown,  except  for 
the  mighty  and  familiar  magic  of  the  press. 

But  ours  is  a  more  limited  signification  of  the  word. 
It  is  not  as  the  universal  disseminator  of  creative  litera- 
ture that  we  celebrate  the  press,  but  as  the  quick  ear 
and  loud  tongue  of  the  world's  life.     Its  mere  swift- 




UNIVERSITY,  AT  PROVIDENCE,  R.  I.,  JUNE  20,  1 882 


ship  lost  control,  and  Marat  became  the  genius  and 
the  type  of  the  Revolution.  Ireland  also  bears  witness. 
As  its  apostle  and  tutelaty  saint  was  a  scholar,  so 
its  long  despair  of  justice  has  found  its  voice  and 
its  hand  among  educated  Irishmen,  Swift  and  Moly- 
neux  and  Flood  and  Grattan  and  O'Connell,  Duffy, 
and  the  young  enthusiasts  around  Thomas  Davis 
who  sang  of  an  Erin  that  never  was  and  dreamed  of 
an  Ireland  that  cannot  be,  were  men  of  the  colleges 
and  the  schools,  whose  long  persistence  of  tongue 
and  pen  fostered  the  life  of  their  country  and  gained 
for  her  all  that  she  has  won.  For  modem  Italy,  let 
Silvio  Pellico  and  Foresti  and  Maroncelli  answer.  It 
was  Italian  education  which  Austria  sought  to  smother, 
and  it  was  not  less  Cavour  than  Garibaldi  who  gave 
constitutional  liberty  to  Italy.  When  Germany  sank 
at  Jena  under  the  heel  of  Napoleon,  and  Stein — ^whom 
Napoleon  hated,  but  could  not  appall — asked  if  national 
life  survived,  the  answer  rang  from  the  universities,  and 
from  them  modem  Germany  came  forth.  With  pro- 
phetic impulse  Theodore  Koerner  called  his  poems  "  The 
Lyre  and  the  Sword,"  for,  like  the  love  which  changed 
the  sea-nymph  into  the  harp,  the  fervent  patriotism  of 
the  educated  youth  of  Germany  turned  the  poet's  lyre 
into  the  soldier's  victorious  sword.  In  the  splendor  of 
our  American  day  let  us  remember  and  honor  our  breth- 
ren, first  in  every  council,  dead  upon  every  field  of  free- 
dom from  the  Volga  to  the  Rhine,  from  John  o'Groats 
to  the  Adriatic,  who  have  steadily  drawn  Europe  from 
out  the  night  of  despotism,  and  have  vindicated  for  the 
educated  class  the  leadership  of  modern  civilization. 


scholar  of  the  Senate  of  the  United  States  who  held 
highest  in  his  undaunted  hands  the  flag  of  humanity 
and  his  country.  While  others  bowed  and  bent  and 
broke  around  him,  the  form  of  Charles  Sumner  towered 
erect.  Commerce  and  trade,  the  mob  of  the  clubs  and 
of  the  street,  hissed  and  sneered  at  him  as  a  pedantic 
dreamer  and  fanatic.  No  kind  of  insult  and  defiance 
was  spared.  But  the  unbending  scholar  revealed  to  the 
haughty  foe  an  antagonist  as  proud  and  resolute  as  it- 
self. He  supplied  what  the  hour  demanded,  a  sublime 
faith  in  liberty,  the  uncompromising  spirit  which  inter- 
preted  the  Constitution  and  the  statutes  for  freedom  and 
not  for  slavery.  The  fiery  agitation  became  bloody 
battle.  Still  he  strode  on  before.  "  I  am  only  six  weeks 
behind  you,"  said  Abraham  Lincoln,  the  Western  fron- 
tiersman, to  the  New  England  scholar ;  and  along  the 
path  that  the  scholar  blazed  in  the  wild  wilderness  of 
civil  war,  the  path  of  emancipation  and  the  constitu- 
tional equality  of  all  citizens,  his  country  followed  fast 
to  union,  peace,  and  prosperity.  The  public  service  of 
this  scholar  was  not  less  than  that  of  any  of  his  prede- 
cessors or  any  of  his  contemporaries.  Criticise  him  as 
you  will,  mark  every  shadow  you  can  find, 

"  Though  round  his  base  the  rolling  clouds  are  spread. 
Eternal  sunshine  settles  on  his  head." 

It  would  indeed  be  a  sorrowful  confession  for  this 
day  and  this  assembly,  to  own  that  experience  proves 
the  air  of  the  college  to  be  suffocating  to  generous 
thought  and  heroic  action.  Here  it  would  be  especially 
unjust,  for  what  son  of  this  college  does  not  proudly 



remember  that  when,  in  the  Revolution,  Rhode  Island 
was  the  seat  of  war,  the  college  boys  left  the  recitation- 
room  for  the  field,  and  the  college  became  a  soldiers' 
barrack  and  hospital  ?  And  what  son  of  any  college  in 
the  land,  what  educated  American,  does  not  recall  with 
grateful  pride  that  legion  of  college  youth  in  our  own 
day — "  Integer  vitae  scelerisque  purus  " — ^who  were  not 
cowards  or  sybarites  because  they  were  scholars,  but 
whose  consecration  to  the  cause  of  country  and  man 
vindicated  the  words  of  John  Milton,  "A  complete  and 
generous  education  is  that  which  fits  a  man  to  perform 
justly,  skilfully,  and  magnanimously  all  the  offices,  both 
private  and  public,  of  peace  and  war?"  That  is  the 
praise  of  the  American  scholar.  The  glory  of  this  day 
and  of  this  Commencement  season  is  that  the  pioneers, 
the  courageous  and  independent  leaders  in  public  af- 
fairs, the  great  apostles  of  religious  and  civil  liberty, 
have  been,  in  large  part,  educated  men,  sustained  by 
the  sympathy  of  the  educated  class. 

But  this  is  not  true  of  the  past  alone.  As  educated 
America  was  the  constructive  power,  so  it  is  still  th^ 
true  conservative  force  of  the  Republic.  It  is  decried 
as  priggish  and  theoretical.  But  so  Richard  Henry  Lee 
condemned  the  Constitution  as  the  work  of  visionaries. 
They  are  always  called  visionaries  who  hold  that  moral- 
ity is  stronger  than  a  majority.  Goldwin  Smith  says 
that  Cobden  felt  that  at  heart  England  was  a  gentleman 
and  not  a  bully.  So  thinks  the  educated  American  of 
his  own  country.  He  has  faith  enough  in  the  people  to 
appeal  to  them  against  themselves,  for  he  knows  that 
the  cardinal  condition  of  popular  government  is  the 





8,  1884 

The  Centennial  Anniversary  of  the  establishment  of  the  Uni- 
versity of  the  State  of  New  York  was  celebrated  at  the  annual 
meeting  of  the  Board  of  R^;ents  of  the  University,  at  Albany, 
July  8,  1884. 

Mr.  Curtis  had  been  a  member  of  the  Board  since  1864. 






PARK,  JUNE  6,  1885 


idea ;  a  fanatic  like  Columbus,  sure  of  a  western  pas- 
sage to  India  over  a  mysterious  ocean  which  no  mari- 
ner had  ever  sailed ;  a  fanatic  like  Galileo,  who  marked 
the  courses  of  the  stars  and  saw,  despite  the  jargon  of 
authority,  that  still  the  earth  moved;  a  fanatic  like 
Joseph  Warren,  whom  the  glory  of  patriotism  trans- 
figured upon  Bunker  Hill.  This  was  the  fanatic  who 
read  the  Bible  to  the  English  people  and  quickened 
English  life  with  the  fire  of  the  primeval  faith;  who 
'  smote  the  Spaniard,  and  swept  the  pirates  from  the 
sea,  and  rode  with  Cromwell  and  his  Ironsides,  praising 
God ;  who  to  the  utmost  shores  of  the  Mediterranean, 
and  in  the  shuddering  valleys  of  Piedmont,  to  every 
religious  oppressor  and  foe  of  England,  made  the  name 
of  England  terrible.  This  was  the  fanatic,  soft  as  sun- 
shine in  the  young  Milton,  blasting  in  Cromwell  as  the 
thunder-bolt,  in  Endicott  austere  as  Calvin,  in  Roger 
Williams  benign  as  Melanchthon,  in  John  Robinson 
foreseeing  more  truth  to  break  forth  from  God's  word. 
In  all  history  do  you  see  a  nobler  figure  ?  Forth  from 
the  morning  of  Greece  come,  Leonidas,  with  your 
bravest  of  the  brave;  in  the  rapt  city  plead,  Demos- 
thenes, your  country's  cause;  pluck,  Gracchus,  from 
aristocratic  Rome  its  crown ;  speak,  Cicero,  your  magic 
word ;  lift,  Cato,  your  admonishing  hand ;  and  you, 
patriots  of  modem  Europe,  be  all  gratefully  remem- 
bered ;  but  where  in  the  earlier  ages,  in  the  later  day, 
in  lands  remote  or  near,  shall  we  find  loftier  self-sac- 
rifice, more  unstained  devotion  to  worthier  ends,  issu- 
ing in  happier  results  to  the  highest  interests  of  man, 
than  in  the  English  Puritan  ? 


colony  in  Holland  before  they  were  a  colony  in  Amer- 
ica, were  compelled  to  self-government,  to  a  common 
sympathy  and  support,  to  bearing  one  another's  bur- 
dens ;  and  so,  by  the  stem  experience  of  actual  life, 
they  were  trained  in  the  virtues  most  essential  for  the 
fulfilment  of  their  august  but  unimagined  destiny.  The 
patriots  of  the  Continental  Congress  seemed  to  Lord 
Chatham  imposing  beyond  the  law-givers  of  Greece 
and  Rome.  The  Constitutional  Convention  a  hundred 
years  ago  was  an  assembly  so  wise  that  its  accomplished 
work  is  reverently  received  by  continuous  generations, 
as  the  children  of  Israel  received  the  tables  of  the  law 
which  Moses  brought  down  from  the  Holy  Mount. 
Happy,  thrice  happy  the  people  which  to  such  scenes 
in  their  history  can  add  the  simple  grandeur  of  the 
spectacle  in  the  cabin  of  the  Mayflower^  the  Puritans 
signing  the  compact  which  was  but  the  formal  expres- 
sion of  the  government  that  voluntarily  they  had  estab- 
lished— the  scene  which  makes  Plymouth  Rock  a  step- 
ping-stone from  the  freedom  of  the  solitary  Alps  and 
the  disputed  liberties  of  England  to  the  fully  devel- 
oped constitutional  and  well-ordered  republic  of  the 
United  States. 

The  history  of  colonial  New  England  and  of  New 
England  in  the  Union  is  the  story  of  the  influence  of 
the  Puritan  in  America.  It  is  a  theme  too  alluring 
to  neglect,  too  vast  to  be  attempted  now.  But  even 
in  passing  I  must  not  urge  a  claim  too  broad.  Even 
in  the  pride  of  this  hour,  and  with  the  consent  of  your 
approving  conviction  and  sympathy,  I  must  not  pro- 
claim  that   the  republic,  like  a  conquering  goddess. 

The  so-called  annual  "banquet"  of  the  New  York  Chamber 
of  Commerce  on  November  15,  1887,  was  distinguished  by  the 
presence  of  the  Rt.  Hon.  Joseph  Chamberlain,  M.P.,  Special 
Commissioner  of  the  British  Government  on  the  Joint  Commis- 
sion for  the  Settlement  of  the  Fisheries  Difficulties. 

After  Mr.  Chamberlain  and  others  had  spoken,  Mr.  Curtis  was 
called  on  to  speak  in  response  to  the  toast,  "The  English- 
speaking  race:  The  founders  of  commonwealths,  pioneers  of 
progress;  stubborn  defenders  of  liberty;  may  they  ever  work 
together  for  the  world's  welfare." 


These  were  undoubtedly  frontier  outposts  of  chang- 
ing public  sentiment  regarding  the  education  of  women. 
But  meanwhile,  in  1836,  the  Legislature  of  Georgia  char- 
tered a  college  for  women  at  Macon,  which  for  some 
mysterious  reason  was  called  the  Georgia  Female  Col- 
lege. Women  are  undoubtedly  females,  but  no  more 
so  than  men  are  males.  The  word  college  does  not 
admit  the  distinction  of  sex,  and  there  is  no  more  pro- 
priety in  calling  Vassar  a  female  college  than  Yale  or 
Columbia  a  male  college.  Upon  a  most  valuable  and 
excellent  institution  in  the  city  of  New  York  there  is 
a  sign  which  announces  that  a  reading-room  for  males 
and  females  is  to  be  found  within.  But  whether  de- 
signed for  equine  males  or  bovine  females  is  not  stated. 
Besides  the  Georgia  college  for  women  there  was  a  Wes- 
leyan  College,  in  Ohio,  incorporated  in  1846,  and  in  1848 
the  Mary  Sharp  College  at  Winchester,  in  Tennessee, 
while  the  Elmira  College,  in '  New  York,  graduated  its 
first  class  in  1859. 

These  facts  and  dates  are  interesting  not  as  incident 
to  any  controversy  of  priority,  but  as  illustrations  of  a 
changing  public  sentiment.  The  test  of  civilization  is 
the  estimate  of  woman.  The  measure  of  that  estimate 
is  the  degree  of  practical  acknowledgment  of  her  equal 
liberty  of  choice  and  action  with  men,  and  nothing  is 
historically  plainer  than  that  the  progress  of  moral  and 
political  liberty  since  the  Reformation  has  included  a 
consequent  and  constant  movement  for  the  abolition  of 
every  arbitrary  restraint  upon  the  freedom  of  women. 
It  has  been,  indeed,  very  gradual.  Compliment  and  in- 
credulity have  persistently  bowed  out  justice  and  rea- 


son.  But  as  usual  the  exiles  have  steadily  returned 
stronger  and  more  resolute.  Their  first  definite  de- 
mand was  that  of  education.  For  this  they  have 
pleaded  against  tradition,  prejudice,  scepticism,  ridi- 
cule, and  superstition.  There  has  been  bitter  conten- 
tion not  only  over  the  end,  but  the  means.  Profuse 
eloquence  and  wit  and  learning  have  been  expended 
in  the  discussion  of  the  comparative  excellence  of  co- 
education or  separate  education,  of  the  limitations  and 
conditions  which  Nature  herself  has  prescribed  to  the 
range  and  degree  of  education  for  women,  of  the  divine 
intentions,  and  of  the  natural  sphere  of  the  sexes. 

In  this  ardent  but  ludicrous  debate  there  have  been 
as  many  theorizers  as  theories.  The  gentlemen  of 
Charles  II.'s  court  thought  that  women  were  educated 
enough  if  they  could  spell  out  the  recipes  of  pies  and 
puddings,  the  manufacture  of  which  nature  had  in* 
trusted  to  their  tender  mercies.  Lord  Byron  did  not 
like  to  see  women  eat,  because  he  thought  angels  should 
be  superior  to  beef  and  beer,  and  it  is  still  a  very  pop- 
ular current  belief  that  it  is  the  sphere  of  lovely  woman 

To  eat  strawberries,  sugar,  and  cream, 
Sit  on  a  cushion,  and  sew  up  a  seam." 

This  debate  of  the  sphere  of  the  sexes  as  determining 
the  character  and  limits  of  education  is  very  amusing. 
For  if  the  sexes  have  spheres,  there  really  seems  to  be 
no  more  reason  to  apprehend  that  women  will  desert 
their  sphere  than  men.  I  have  not  observed  any  gen- 
eral anxiety  lest  men  should  steal  away  from  their  work- 
shops and  offices  that  they  may  dam  the  family  stock- 


could  be  no  doubt  that  such  training  was  equally  de- 
sirable for  women,  except  upon  the  theory  which  ad« 
vancing  civilization  had  steadily  abjured. 

Mr.  Vassar's  declaration  twenty-five  years  ago  is  the 
satisfactory  evidence  that  public  sentiment  had  reached 
the  conviction  which  his  few  and  unqualified  words 
announce.  Those  words  quietly  set  aside  forever  the 
practice  of  the  Boston  High -School  admitting  girls 
when  boys  did  not  want  the  places.  They  signalized 
the  end  of  the  tradition  which  had  produced  the  im- 
mense disparity,  that  Sydney  Smith  declared  admitted 
of  no  defence,  between  the  knowledge  of  men  and 
women.  "  For  the  last  thirty  years,"  said  Mr.  Vassar, 
**  the  standard  of  education  for  the  sex  has  been  con- 
stantly rising  in  the  United  States."  The  chief  obstruc- 
tion was  want  of  ample  endowment  "  It  is  my  hope," 
said  he,  ''to  be  the  instrument  in  the  hand  of  Provi- 
dence of  founding  an  institution  which  shall  accomplish 
for  young  women  what  our  colleges  are  accomplishing 
for  young  men." 

The  movement  of  opinion  which  lifted  Mr.  Vassar  to 
his  happy  design  had  already  produced,  as  we  have 
seen,  seminaries  and  even  colleges  for  women.  But, 
admirable  as  schools,  and  significant  as  they  were  of 
the  tendencies  of  thought,  the  adequate  resource  and 
comprehensive  scheme  which  surround  the  teacher  with 
all  the  appliances  of  teaching  were  here  first  fully  and 
properly  supplied.  And  if  now,  at  the  end  of  a  quarter 
of  a  century  from  the  opening  of  its  doors,  the  founder, 
as  he  naturally  liked  to  be  called,  should  visibly  re- 
turn, and  sitting  here  should  contemplate  his  work  and 


left  her  as  a  foolish  goddess  with  chivalry  and  Don 
Quixote ;  we  have  left  her  as  a  toy  with  Chesterfield 
and  the  club ;  and  in  the  enlightened  American  daugh- 
ter, wife,  and  mother,  in  the  free  American  home,  we 
find  the  fairest  flower  and  the  highest  promise  of 
American  civilization. 



IN  ALBANY,  JULY  9,  1890 





trusts,  its  administration  may  decline  into  a  mere  per- 
functory observance  of  routine  or  it  may  produce  the 
highest  public  benefit.    The  choice  between  these  al- 
ternatives will  depend  upon  the   hearty  co-operation 
both  in  spirit  and  purpose,  of  the  central  authority  and 
of  the  widespread  and  independent  collegiate  and  aca- 
demic membership  of  the  University.    While  the   re- 
gents are  the  trustees  elected  by  the  representatives 
of  the  people  who  confer  a  trust,  this  convocation   is 
the  representative  body  of  the  various  institutions  of 
which  the  University  consists.    This  is  the  congress  of 
higher  education  in  New  York.     It  should  speak  the 
thought  of  New  York  upon  this  cardinal  interest  of  a 
free  country,  and  to  its  deliberations  the  whole  coun- 
try should  turn  to  ascertain  whether,  upon  the  funda- 
mental questions  of  educational  life  and  progress,  it  has 
anything  to  learn  from  the  Empire  State,  or  whether 
New  York  is  imperial  only  in  extent  and  population,  in 
natural  resources  and  material  prosperity. 

The  credential — I  might  say,  in  view  of  the  ultimate 
purpose  of  the  convocation,  the  highest  credential — of 
every  member  is  not  derived  from  his  office  as  a  teach- 
er, but  from  his  profound  conviction  as  a  man  of  the 
grandeur  of  the  intellectual  life.  As  an  American  cit- 
izen, he  comes  here  with  no  deference  to  any  other  in- 
terest.  The  scholar  bows  to  the  superior  intelligence, 
if  such  it  be,  but  not  to  the  money  of  Croesus.  Leigh 
Hunt  said,  with  fine  democracy  of  feeling,  "  I  thought 
that  my  Horace  and  Demosthenes  gave  me  a  right  to 
sit  at  table  with  any  man,  and  I  think  so  still."  If  our 
convictions  did  not  assure  us  of  the  essential  value  of 


their  success,  what  was  it  ?  Where  do  you  see  it  now ! 
Surely  not  in  their  riches,  but  in  the  respect  that  ten 
derly  cherishes  their  memory  because,  knowing  its  ines 
timable  value,  they  gave  to  others  the  opportunity  ol 
education  which  had  been  denied  to  them.  Let  us 
make  their  lofty  spirit  the  spirit  of  the  University.  Re- 
membering that  the  great  ministry  of  education  is  not 
to  make  the  body  more  comfortable,  but  the  soul  liap- 
pier,  may  the  University,  in  all  its  departments  and  ac- 
tivities,  cherish  and  promote  education,  not  for  its  lower 
uses,  but  for  its  higher  influences. 



STON, N.  Y.,  JUNE  25.  1891 


Puritans.  It  was  sifted  grain  that  made  New  England, 
grain  sifted  by  profound  conviction,  by  unquailing  cour- 
age,  by  stem  self-sacrifice,  by  heroic  persistence — sifted 
grain  which  has  sprung  into  the  most  marvellous  har- 
vest  in  history. 

But  while  every  early  New-Englander  was  but  an  Old- 
Englander  made  over,  the  fathers  of  New  York  were  of 
various  blood.    When  the  convention  sat  here  and  or- 
ganized the  State,  Jay  was  by  descent  a  Frenchman, 
Morris  a  Welshman,  Livingston  a  Scotchman,  Clinton 
an  Irishman,  Herkimer  of  Oriskany  a  German,  Hoff- 
man a  Swede,  and,  in  political  genius  the  greatest  of 
New-Yorkers,  Alexander  Hamilton,  was  a  British  West- 
Indian.    This  diversity  of  national  origin  in  the  settle- 
ment and  leadership  of  New  York  long  before  the  great 
immigration  began  was  in  this  sense  fortunate  that,  as 
its  chief  city  and  seaport  was  the  gate  through  which 
Europe  entered  America,  it  was  not  a  strait  gate  nor 
did  it  open  upon  a  narrow  way.  The  membership  of  the 
first  constitutional  convention  at  Kingston,  in  which  at 
least  six  different  nationalities  participated,  forecast  the 
cosmopolitan  New  York  of  to-day.     But  the  different 
public  spirit  of  a  homogeneous  and  a  heterogeneous  com- 
munity, in  the  same  country  and  animated  by  the  same 
general  purpose,  is  illustrated  by  the  fact  that  when 
New  England,  by  the  voice  of  John  Adams,  was  de- 
manding independence.  New  York,  by  the  lips  of  John 
Jay,  was  asking  for  one  more  appeal  to  the  king.    So, 
also,  when  the  king's  troops  were  forced  out  of  Boston 
in  the  first  year  of  the  war,  they  came  to  New  York 
and  occupied  it  until  the  British  standard  in  the  city 

.  —J 


humbly,  to  the  fulfilment  of  this  noblest  of  human  as- 
pirations. Our  intelligence  is  the  divine  spark  within 
us,  and  the  more  carefully  we  cherish  it  and  fan  it  into 
flame  the  more  certainly  will  the  world  in  which  we  live 
be  enveloped  in  celestial  light,  and  human  life  fulfil  its 
divine  purpose.